Whichever lectionary set you use, there's a fun psalm-epistle connection awaiting you this week!
Psalm 25 as a whole is cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 2: Free Will, Rejected Teaching 7 (SD 2.81) as set up for an extended quote from Augustine reflecting on Psalm 25. The quote from Augustine is used to show that conversion is not the death of the old person and the creation of an entirely different person, but a laying aside of the old person so the new person might rise up. This psalm also appointed for Advent 1 C.
Psalm 82 (semicontinuous)
Verse 6 is quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 21: The Infocation of the Saints (AP 21.44) as Melanchthon pleads with Charles V to preserve sound doctrine and the innocent from inter-Christian conflict because as a ruler God has called him into these duties.
Verses 9-11 are cited with several others in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 2: Free Will (SD 2.15) showing examples of Paul's prayers--along with other, non-Pauline examples--to show examples of prayers offered for what cannot be attained on our own.
The death of the old person and prayer, or the duty of rulers and prayer, either way there is a direct path to what we do when we reach the end of our own abilities. I know there are those who deny the efficacy of prayer as a kind of moral self licensing, and I can't deny that reality. However, there does seem to be something about prayer that can enable people to do things they didn't think they could do. Prayer does not absolve us from responsibility, but neither do our works absolve us from praying.
- How do we craft cooperate prayers that both name our feelings of helplessness and show us that we can do something?
- How do we move from our actions into prayer in a way that recognizes God's empowering of our action and God's call to not be satisfied with what we have done?